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DTI holds off tariff cut on cement imports

- Marianne V. Go () - February 15, 2004 - 12:00am
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is holding off the reduction of the safeguard tariff on imported cement as retail prices of cement are reportedly on the downtrend.

However, DTI Secretary Cesar V. Purisima said the earlier P5 per bag reduction approved by former Trade and Industry Secretary Manuel Roxas II may have to be implemented.

The current safeguard tariff on imported cement is pegged at P20.60 per bag.

Purisima met recently with local cement manufacturers who vowed to implement a strict monitoring of cement prices, both ex-plant and retail, to be able to pinpoint where the price manipulation is being done.

The cement manufacturers had explained that while they have control over their ex-plant price, the manipulation most likely occurs with the retailers and distributors.

Even then, there is also a difference in prices quoted for bulk purchases, over a hundred bags and just one or two bags, the group said.

According to the cement makers, Purisima seemed appreciative of the fact that there has indeed been an increase in the cost of inputs of cement manufacturers following the oil price adjustment which affects power and transport cost, and the foreign exchange movement.

During the same meeting, cement importers had also reportedly pointed out that even with a lowering of the safeguard tariff, they would not be able to import and sell the imported cement at a lower price than what is prevailing in the market.

Cement prices, as well as prices of other construction materials such as steel and aluminum, have risen due to increased demand from China.

Purisima had earlier threatened to reduce by another P5 the safeguard tariff on imported cement.

CEMENT DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY IMPORTED MANUFACTURERS PRICE PRICES PURISIMA SAFEGUARD SECRETARY CESAR V TARIFF TRADE AND INDUSTRY SECRETARY MANUEL ROXAS
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